Glacier Park Photographer

Glacier Park Photographer
Chief Mountain, Fall Colors - © tonybynum.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Superbowl Sunday - Glacier Park Goats & light you can't refuse

Mountain goats in February what a surprise. I found a few mountain goats to photograph this past weekend. It’s a surprise because Mountain goats seldom are low enough to photograph this time of year. In fact I usually don’t see them until later in April. While it was a nice surprise to see them so early, I can’t help but wonder if it’s the shortage of snow that’s got them coming out of the rocky crags of the high country this early. On the bright side, they look healthy and were not at all upset with my "invading" their space. Here's a shot of a kid and her mother, called a nanny. 



To me, the key to quality nature images is the light; not just any light, but quality light. In nature photography warm light often is considered quality light and preferred over the hard light of the mid day sun, though not essential. A mediocre image can become a fantastic image under the right light. Seldom do you see a stellar image in poor light. Keep in mind that light and quality imagery are based on the perspective of the photographer and in some cases may not meet your definition. Nonetheless, "quality" images have a context and a perspective chosen first by the photographer and by the viewer second.    

Take for example the image to the right. I shot this after leaving the mountain goats. The light had faded from the mountain goats beyond what I knew I could use so I left. As I descended I looked up and noticed a small sliver in the clouds where the light was coming through. It was steep angled light the kind that you find in the evening, and it was coming though just a slight crack in the clouds and showing up behind me on the side of the mountain, above the mountain goats. 

When I turned to see what it was doing behind me I found the image shown above. At first glance I was not so impressed but I was intrigued enough that I could not refuse to unpacking my camera and lens and aim it at the trees with the plan to frame the quality light falling on the them. I put the 200mm lens on my Nikon body and captured a few shots. The warmth of the light coupled with the contrast and the colors of the fir and tamarack (larch) trees makes for an interesting image.  But more importantly while I know it's not a Pulitzer prize wining shot, it is, in my view an example of how the quality of light changes an otherwise dull image into something interesting. I felt that this single shot made my trip worth every bit if effort, even if I did miss the first half of the Super bowl to get it!

Cheers!

Tony
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